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Public Health Rep. 2008;123 Suppl 1:35-43.

Strengthening epidemiologic competencies among local health professionals in New York: teaching evidence-based public health.

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  • 1Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Adult Health, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12237-0675, USA. cmm05@health.state.ny.us


Starting in 2004, the New York State Department of Health and the University at Albany Prevention Research Center collaboratively developed a course entitled Evidence-Based Public Health for Local Health Practice to strengthen epidemiologic and other competencies of public health professionals in local health departments. This article describes the development of the course and its adaptation to the needs of local public health staff. The course utilizes didactic sessions, computer labs, and scenario-based exercises to demonstrate the use of data and evidence in the decision-making process. Follow-up surveys found that information and skills that emphasized epidemiologic competencies were likely to be used regularly or occasionally by the majority of participants. Half of the participants said that their agency's use of evidence-based public health practices had increased. Few respondents were trained as epidemiologists, yet most reported they used those skills in the workplace, suggesting a need to strengthen these competencies among non-epidemiologists.

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